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Croissant Buttons

Never heard of them?  Yeah, it’s a new recipe.

My daughter and I made them up today.  We were having a fabulous feast and I pulled out some refrigerator croissants in a can.  The darn things would not peal apart.  Timing was of the utmost importance after messing with the rolls for a few minutes.

Oven ready croissant buttons

So I did what most folks do in a pinch. Improvise.

I started slicing up croissant rounds. Tossed them on a baking sheet. Melted two tablespoons of butter, which I added parsley, a dash of oregano and garlic salt.  We brushed the top of each button and sprinkled parmigiana cheese just because.  Bake in a 375 for about 7 minutes.

They turned out great!  The butter gets down in the cracks with the garlic salt and herbs. Much easier than taking apart sticky dough and reforming it into a crazy triangle, too

Croissant Buttons

Unruly Sheep


sheep14:43 am
Dear sheep,

Please stop jumping over the non-existent fence by the dozens.  I’m trying to count you.   It was less than four hours ago when we started this project.  I recall the TV timer following the workflow process to the letter. Exactly one hour into our meeting the room went dark. The plan appeared to be fail-safe as I stopped recording the minutes.

Then, a mere two hours into the venture and without warning, your team changed strategy. While I applaud your efforts to push rocks up a mountain, the clacking of your hooves on the rocks diffused the forward motion.  There is simply no realistic way to measure the amount of energy wasted during the execution failure of plan A.  It seems your colleagues cannot embrace the cadence of how a collaborative effort might succeed.

To further accentuate my disdain, the herd is now fractured.  The split only ensures an apocalyptic culmination; as the goal cannot be obtained without the full host of associates focused on either one of the alternate plans.

I therefore submit this mission be aborted, and your team arrange their schedules to accommodate the next available training sessions addressing their collective behavior. Please keep them out of the weeds and on task.  We will resubmit this plan at the end of the day.

Please have one of your staff activate the coffee maker, since the birds are gathering in your field for breakfast.



The victim was covered in black burlap

Cross-acrylic on burlapI started to dig out some boards to build something today and the weather looked threatening enough that I didn’t drag out the chop saw, cord, tools and all the excessive crap needed to work with wood.  We had 7 inches of rain yesterday, and should get more through Wednesday.   Might be Friday before I get to cut stuff up.  No complaints however; Mother Nature, you just do your thing.  I can work around you, honey!

So, I made it a wonderful evening to paint.  I’ll confess there is some form of painting gear out and ready all day, every day.  Usually I hit watercolors.  Today I dug out some surplus canvas from the craft stash and a hand full of acrylics.

I grabbed a nice royal blue, wedgewood green, black and white.

Paint crates

Less than half of acrylic paint stash.

Maybe you’re wondering why just four colors?  (Hell even the kiddy pack of crayons have eight.)  It’s not for lack of choices.  I have crates of paint to choose from.   But, I figure if I can’t make something with five colors or less, I need to put my brushes away.

And now we come to the elephant in the room.   I have an unusual amount of canvas covered in black burlap.  What was I working on that I needed more than 12 black burlap covered canvases? Cause that’s whats left.  Why did I buy all this?  I don’t recall the reason it has been taking up shelf space, but I’m putting it to work this week.  So that lovely photo at the top is the product of my Sunday solitude.  If you like it, check out more Renee originals here.

Sticking with my mantra – Make something every day!
Even on Sunday with black canvas.


Fork Tender Cube Steak on the Fly

Tonight I needed a fast dinner in 40 minutes.  I made it happen!

I was planning on something easy, like sharing a pizza with my son since it’s Friday night.  Then, due to crazy circumstances, I volunteered to cook for my daughter and her two kids.


I hit up old reliable Google for “Instant Pot, cube steak.”   I have four packages in the freezer from a great BOGO deal.  Cube steak thaws quickly, too.

BINGO!!!  This recipe was second on the google recommendation list:  Instant pot cubed steak & gravy from Sidetracked Sarah.   I did add a smashed, minced clove of garlic and slivered up a small onion; mainly because there was meat in my Instant Pot.  It’s a habit. I set the Instant Pot for 15 minutes on manual, and put the rice on.  (I wanted to make a large batch of rice anyway.  Rice pudding is in my future this weekend.)

While everything was cooking, my extra appetites showed up.  We had some fabulous unplanned family time.  It’s nice to be able to change course and cook something delicious within an hour.  I couldn’t have done it with my Instant Pot.  If you don’t know what an IP is, search for it.   Talk to folks who have one.  It’s a great investment for folks who like cooking on the fly.

Great start to a weekend!




Gramma and the Po Po

police lightsI was recently accosted by the local police in our small quaint town.

I wasn’t driving.

I wasn’t even on a public road.

I was sitting in my daughter’s driveway in my car, pulled back by the garage in the shade.  The temp was over 90 degrees.  I play word games or hit Instagram or write a blog post while I wait for the school bus delivering the seven year old grandchild.

So two police cars show up a couple houses down and officers start looking in car windows.  Apparently, no one is home or coming out to see if they need assistance.  I see them trying to back out and continue with my game.

In my peripheral vision, I see movement and look up.  Both officers are now pulled in and coming towards me.  One little shit unsnaps his gun strap.  Oh really!?!  The tall one is silent, while the fun-sized one does all the talking.  (I can say fun-sized because at my full height of 5’1” I can look this guy in eye)

“I need your driver’s license.”  (he starts calling it in)
“Do I live here?”  No
“Do I know who lives here?”  Yes
“What are you doing here?” Picking up my grandchild from the bus.  This is my daughter’s house.
“What is her name?”  I tell him her name.
“I haven’t seen you here before.  How often are you here?”  Monday through Friday, 3:00 to 3:30pm
“I would have seen you.  How long have you been doing this?”  Since November.
“I would have noticed you.”  Officer, the only other time I have seen police on this road was three weeks ago when the kid a few houses down backed his car straight across the road into the ditch.  I sat here and watched the entire thing.  I have photos because I wrote a story and posted on a local news site to stay clear of this road for a bit.
Dispatch comes back alerting him the license number is invalid.  I get my license back out and hand it to him.

My phone dings, so I grab it and check the message.  He is trying to look at the screen.  Interesting.  It’s the Mayors assistant.  I built some furniture for her and for one of her friends.  That lovely woman had impeccable timing.  She was letting me know they loved my work.

I shared the news with the wonderful officers.  And without so much as a radio message back clearing my license, they told me “everything is good, and you are free to go.”

Well, since I’m parked in a driveway, can I just stay here and wait for the kid?

I did tell them to stick around.  It was almost 3:30; they could probably generate some revenue and make the chief happy.   Bus 0705 has a habit of flying down the road well over the speed limit.  A red dodge truck with flags on each side of the bed was known to ignore the bus stop signs disregarding the safety of the kids.

I must go.  It’s 2:50 pm.  Time for my daily crime spree.


Dual-Duty Appliances – Blender+

I’ve been culling through small appliances to reduce clutter and simplify.  I’m not cooking for 6-8 people anymore so it’s hard to justify 15 linear feet of appliance storage.  This is a preamble to downsizing my living space.

blender plusI dug out four appliances above: blender, food processor, smoothie maker and mini chopper.  What started this particular chain was my paper-making blender going tits up. It started smoking and making unnatural blender noises.  First I started shopping for a replacement, then I took the food blender and moved it to the craft room.

While shopping, I found the Blender/Food Processor combo.  Things started clicking:

  1. The kid who used the smoothie maker moved out.  I had been making them in the blender since forever.  I didn’t need an extra stand-alone tool.
  2. The food processor hadn’t been “out of the closet” for more than two years.  For whatever reason, I forgot it’s usefulness.  Paired up less useful with an 80% decline in household members; this also landed in the red X pile.
  3. The mini chopper – could I do without it?  Absolutely.  And I may at a later time.  Right now, its my cooking for two “onion chopper, cracker crumb maker, nut grinder, salsa maker.”  And it doesn’t take up much space, it’s fast to clean, and easy to access.

What have you got in your pantry?  What’s your favorite kitchen appliance?

See my other Dual-Duty Appliance posts here.



Dual-Duty Appliances – Instant Pot

The Instant Pot.  Lord have mercy,
where have you been all my life!ip

Stop right now and google Instant Pot.  Watch videos. Read the reviews. Check the recipes.  This thing has the biggest cult following I have seen since the pet rock.  A Facebook group with a half million followers.
And it’s legit.
I am a pot head.

Before the IP
I have four stove top pressure cookers ranging from 6 qt. to 22 qt.  I used any combination of them 4-5 times a week minimum.

After the IP
Haven’t used any stove top pressure cookers in months.  I really should sell three of them.  I even moved them from their sacred “under the range” storage spot to a mudroom closet.

The IP is that good.  Check out the functions below.  Pressure cook, slow cook, steam, porridge, yogurt.  That’s right, even a yogurt setting. My daughter makes cheesecake in hers.  My waist won’t allow that.  I do not visit her on cheesecake days.

I have used mine four times in a day, I think was the most.  And boiled eggs.  Put a dozen eggs in there on manual for 6 minutes, natural pressure release for 6 minutes, and an ice bath for 6 minutes.  THE PEELS FALL OFF.


There simply isn’t enough space on the internet for me to properly credit this appliance. And now they have a mind-blowing bluetooth connection and App to monitor your cooking wirelessly.  Shut the front door!

Recipes or dishes I make – I can’t even list them all.  Soups, chowders, ribs, teriyaki beef, chicken, mac & cheese, steamed veggies of all kinds.  Rice and chicken at the same time stacked, put a veggie in foil and do the whole darn meal.  Boiled peanuts, rice pudding.  It’s amazing.

Seriously, best thing in the kitchen since sliced bread!

Quick note – Great gift for college students.  I haven’t found anything barring these from dorm use yet.

See my other Dual-Duty Appliance posts here.